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J Nutr. 2006 May;136(5):1261-9.

Intestinal protein supply alters amino acid, but not glucose, metabolism by the sheep gastrointestinal tract.

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Department of Animal and Avian Scienes, University of Maryland College Park, MD 00742, USA.


This study was intended to establish the extent which amino acids (AAs) and glucose are net metabolized by the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of ruminant sheep when intestinal protein supply is varied. Wether sheep (n = 4, 33 +/- 2.0 kg) were fitted with catheters for measurement of net absorption by the mesenteric (MDV) and portal-drained (PDV) viscera and a catheter inserted into the duodenum for casein infusions. Sheep received a fixed amount of a basal diet that provided adequate metabolizable energy (10.9 MJ/d) but inadequate metabolizable protein (75 g/d) to support 300-g gain per day. Four levels of casein infusion [0 (water), 35, 70, and 105 g/d], each infused for 5.5 d, were assigned to sheep according to a 4 x 4 Latin square design. [methyl-(2)H(3)]leucine was infused (8 h) into the duodenum while [1-(13)C]leucine plus [6-(2)H(2)]glucose were infused (8 h) into a jugular vein. With the exception of glutamate and glutamine, net absorption of AAs increased linearly (P < 0.05, R(2) = 0.46-1.79 for MDV; P < 0.05, R(2) = 0.6-1.58 for PDV) with casein infusion rate. Net absorption by the PDV accounted for <100% of the additional supplies of leucine, valine, and isoleucine (0.6-0.66, P < 0.05) from casein infusion, whereas net absorption by the MDV accounted for 100% of the additional essential AA supply. Glucose absorption (negative) and utilization of arterial glucose supply by the GIT remained unchanged. There was a positive linear (P < 0.05) relation between transfer of plasma urea to the GIT and arterial urea concentration (MDV, P < 0.05, r = 0.90; PDV, P < 0.05, r = 0.93). The ruminant GIT appears to metabolize increasing amounts of the branched-chain AAs and certain nonessential AAs when the intestinal supply of protein is increased.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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